Terrain Tiles

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Trilarion
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Re: Terrain Tiles

Post by Trilarion » Mon Dec 05, 2016 10:50 pm

Andrettin wrote:I have a couple of questions:

1. Why the 80x80 tile size, rather than a power-of-2 size (i.e. 64x64), which is more standard?

2. Is there any reason why Veneteaou's tiles aren't in the game's repository?
To 1.:

I had made some initial tests for finding out what looks good. The tiles in the original game were 64x64 and I wanted to allow for a bit higher level of detail, so 80 it was, since this is also a rather simple number. But it could as well be 96 or 100 or 120 or 128 so say a few others. I don't see a decisive advantage of using a power of 2.

The trade-off is level of detail in each tile versus number of displayed tiles. If you make tile sizes too large, you basically do not see a big enough part of the map simultaneously. However, the exact tile size on screen is up to discussion and possibly could be an option in the game.

To 2.:

Veneteaou's tileset can be downloaded here. This download link is also on the general download page.

They were used in some versions but they are not used in the current version. That's why they aren't in current head of the repository but only in the repository history. The reasons why they aren't used anymore may be found in this thread and in my dev blog thread here in the forum. I will find the detailed posts later but as a summary I think I had some general objections against using these kind of tiles because of repeating patterns that are easily visible by eye and do not look very nice as well as difficult transitions between tiles. I started experimenting with smaller building blocks and more procedural creation but did not get very far yet with it.

That's from me about it. I'm very interested to hear your take on the issues.

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Andrettin
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Re: Terrain Tiles

Post by Andrettin » Mon Dec 05, 2016 11:23 pm

Trilarion wrote:To 1.:

I had made some initial tests for finding out what looks good. The tiles in the original game were 64x64 and I wanted to allow for a bit higher level of detail, so 80 it was, since this is also a rather simple number. But it could as well be 96 or 100 or 120 or 128 so say a few others. I don't see a decisive advantage of using a power of 2.

The trade-off is level of detail in each tile versus number of displayed tiles. If you make tile sizes too large, you basically do not see a big enough part of the map simultaneously. However, the exact tile size on screen is up to discussion and possibly could be an option in the game.
The advantage I see with using a power of 2 is the greater possibility of reusing open-source graphics that are available (for example) in OpenGameArt.com, with modifications of course to better fit the style of the game.

Otherwise, both 64x64 and 80x80 seem fine to me. As for quantity of tiles on screen, that could be tied to resolution; with tile pixel sizes being constant (not scaling with higher resolutions), instead more of the map being shown at greater resolutions.
To 2.:

Veneteaou's tileset can be downloaded here. This download link is also on the general download page.

They were used in some versions but they are not used in the current version. That's why they aren't in current head of the repository but only in the repository history. The reasons why they aren't used anymore may be found in this thread and in my dev blog thread here in the forum. I will find the detailed posts later but as a summary I think I had some general objections against using these kind of tiles because of repeating patterns that are easily visible by eye and do not look very nice as well as difficult transitions between tiles. I started experimenting with smaller building blocks and more procedural creation but did not get very far yet with it.

That's from me about it. I'm very interested to hear your take on the issues.
My impression is that procedurally generating graphics at this level of detail would probably make it difficult to get visually good results. I could be wrong though, of course.

If the tiles look too repetitive, one idea is to use them as placeholders, and hopefully get artists onboard later on who improve them or create new ones. Transitions could probably be improved by creating more variations for each kind of transition.

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Trilarion
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Re: Terrain Tiles

Post by Trilarion » Wed Dec 07, 2016 1:54 pm

Andrettin wrote:Otherwise, both 64x64 and 80x80 seem fine to me. As for quantity of tiles on screen, that could be tied to resolution; with tile pixel sizes being constant (not scaling with higher resolutions), instead more of the map being shown at greater resolutions.
I thought about it a bit more and I think we should exploit the conveniences of modern frameworks like Qt that they can interpolate. So basically what I do is putting graphics in a scene and then I can have continuous zoom with the view on the scene. This only means the resolution of the used graphics should be roughly in the same ballpark as the typical zoomed resolution. We could even provide graphics of different detail to use them interchangeably when the zoom changes. So not much difficulties here. We can work with whatever tile size we want more or less.
Andrettin wrote: My impression is that procedurally generating graphics at this level of detail would probably make it difficult to get visually good results. I could be wrong though, of course.

If the tiles look too repetitive, one idea is to use them as placeholders, and hopefully get artists onboard later on who improve them or create new ones. Transitions could probably be improved by creating more variations for each kind of transition.
I wanted to experiment a bit more with procedureally generated graphics before comparing and evaluating them. I had some good preliminary results with procedurally generated rivers and nation borders. They definitely looked less repetitive. Then my idea was to use large scale textures for ocean and basic land and putting hand drawn decorations (fields, forests, mountains, hills) smartly at certain locations.

The disadvantage with the tiles were that they really looked repetitive. Since we basically have a hexagonal layout (although with squares, but every square has six neighbors) we have a lot of symmetry conditions even on a single tile. If you create more variations manually you run into a combinatorial problem where you need to combine many different solutions. It's possible, I guess but I'm not convinced it's better.

The good thing: displaying the map is a pretty isolated thing. The rest of the programm will continue working whatever way we are displaying the map. So this is something that can be changed relatively easy even later on.

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